Jacksonville’s Sulzbacher’s mission is to end homelessness one person at a time

John Biasoti and Nathan Dean

Glenda Gale-Mitchell spent several days living in here car with her eleven-year-old daughter. Having a stable job, living in a house and raising a child seemed near impossible on her own.

For the past two years Mitchell has been living at Sulzbacher homeless shelters. First at their downtown location and then at the new Sulzbacher village.

Before she moved to Sulzbacher she was in a home where she had to use kerosene, a type of fuel oil,  instead of heating to stay warm.

“I had no hope,” Mitchell said . “When we were in our home, I didn’t sleep well, because you didn’t know what could happen.”

Before Sulzbacher she had been unemployed for eight years due to a disability. Mitchell said since she moved to Sulzbacher, she went through their vocational training and has been able to hold down a steady job working in security.

“A lot of the stuff that Sulzbacher does with the kids, I wouldn’t be able to do half of it on my own,” Mitchell said. Mitchell’s daughter has been able to get the same education as any other child thanks to Sulzbacher’s children programs. Mitchell said the neighborhood they lived in was rough and she had to keep her daughter close at all times, but now her daughter has been able to develop on her own.

“In 2018 Sulzbacher did a count and we estimate that there are 1700 individuals in Jacksonville experiencing a housing crisis,” Sulzbacher’s volunteer coordinator, Emily Knight-Smith said.

Sulzbacher not only provides a place where people can live, but they do job training, a state of the art medical center and they serve up to 1500 meals a day.

Smith said Sulzbacher has housed over 43,000 clients since 1995 and they are still looking for ways to improve.

Sulzbacher is always looking for people to volunteer in many ways. People can help cook meals, tutor the child or they can do something simple like make a phone call to remind a client they need to see the doctor. To find out how you can help visit http://sulzbacherjax.org/support-us/volunteer